I’ve been reading through Eclipse Phase the past few days. I really like the setting and the premise and the way the game handles transhumanism. Very accessible, feels an awful lot like Morgan’s Altered Carbon stuff as well as Reynolds’ Revelation Space work.
The books are free (they’re distributed by the author at the link). They are dense with text. So so much text.
Unfortunately, the game system itself is utterly unremarkable: percentile roll against whatever the GM says, succeed or fail. That’s it. It’s like…placeholder text. The one killer idea that’s also the core conceit of the game is that your mind/identity is a digital asset that can be fitted into a “morph,” something designed to hold your mind. Might be a grown body, or a robot, or a digital entity designed to operate on the “Mesh,” their ultrafuture internet thingy.
I almost wish he’d just left procedures out, you know? The whole series is like this. The fictional stuff, the premise, the extrapolations — awesome. Seriously. If you like transhumanism in the download-into-any-body mode, this is the setting for you. But what’s up with the game system? It’s not just trad, it’s lazy trad that relies entirely on the GM to do whatever the GM will do.
Happily, I think, there are a zillion hacks available. I mean, apparently, you can play EP as a Fiasco scenario (although I’ve seen Fiasco bent into some very strange shapes, so I’m not sold this is a good match). There’s a biiiig Fate adaptation, which I think is probably worth looking at. Someone did a Cortex Plus/MHR hack, which honestly looks kind of iffy but, man…maybe? I think Cortex Plus could be a really nice platform for this game.
The fussy technical detail of the game makes it daunting to hack, either into another format (like some flavor of Cortex Plus, god so many traits to write), or just to strip out the details. That may be me. It always feels to me like those details are important for some players and some premises — if gearing up correctly is important to succeeding at a mission, then just saying “I’ve got the right gear, let’s get on with it” is kind of unsatisfying.
So who’s playing this? What are you using? Thematically and fictionally it’s definitely something that interests me. But lordy the system is just killing me.